When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. “Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, (Deuteronomy 8:10-11 NKJV)
He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given. (Proverbs 19:17 NKJV)
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40 NKJV)
Thanksgiving — it’s not just a holiday. If you look up the definition in a dictionary you’ll find something that might say the act of giving thanks. The act of giving thanks. But to whom? And how?
For most Christians the answers are simple. We give thanks to God and we give thanks through prayer. This year I am challenged, however, to be thankful in a more tangible way — to move from thanksgiving to grateful-giving.
Like many Americans, I have been blessed abundantly. No, I don’t live in a 2,000 square foot home, I don’t drive a fancy car, nor do I have a million dollars in my bank account; but I do have a home, I do have a car, and I do have enough money in my account to pay the bills and put food on the table. Hundreds of millions of people around the world do not have what I have.
Just as easily as I was born into this life, I could have been born into a life of poverty. I don’t deserve the life I have, but I am thankful for it and this year, instead of just saying thank you, I’m going to gratefully give. If you are looking to do the same, here are a few simple ways to show thanks to the Lord who has blessed us abundantly.
- Drink coffee or send some to a friend. I recently discovered Three Avocados, a non-profit coffee company that uses 100% of their net proceeds to provide clean water and education to the poverty stricken in Uganda and Nicaragua.
- Give a toilet or a chicken or a sewing machine. Millions of people in Asia are in desperate need of practical love. You can browse the Christmas catalog at gfa.org and touch the lives of the most needy by sending them a toilet (preventing disease and sickness), a chicken (providing them with nutritous eggs) or a sewing machine (providing a means for income).
- Read a good book. Check out my list of recommended reading. If you purchase one of these books through the affiliated links, the first fruits of the commision will go to missionaries or mission organizations around the world like the Goins Family and A Jesus Mission.
- Do your regular Christmas shopping. I do quite a bit of Christmas shopping online, mostly through Amazon.com. If you make a purchase through smile.amazon.com you can select a charitable organization and Amazon will send them a portion of their profit, at no additional cost to you. Your gift will simply be the time you spent selecting the charitable organization
- Fill a shoe box. Samaritan’s Purse organizes an outreach program for those in need called Operation Christmas Child. Filling a shoes box with small items like a toothbrush, toothpaste, and small trinkets blesses a child who would not normally receive a Christmas gift.
- Pray. This really should be number one on the list, but I’m mentioning it last because I want it to leave a lasting impression. The above mentioned ways to gratefully give are only suggestions. There are so many more ways to love your neighbor. The Lord has blessed each of us in one way or another, far more than we even realize. Pray that The Lord will open your eyes to the abundance He has blessed you with. Then pray that He show you how to use that abundance to bless others.
These simple acts of gratefulness may seem small. In fact, they may not seem that great at all. The truth is, however, they are great, especially to those on the receiving end.
Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38 NKJV)
This Thursday, after I have eaten and am full I don’t want to forget where my blessings have come from. I don’t want to forget my Lord or His commandments. Instead, I desire that my thanksgiving be tangible and my giving come from a place of gratefulness.
Lord, thank You for all you have given to us. As we give thanks this season, may it be more than just lip service. Show us how to gratefully give to others. Let it be an act of worship to You. May it bless You and those in need. In Your name I pray. Amen.
Do you plan to gratefully give this season? How so? Please feel free to leave your ideas in the comments below.